Join Mountain Area Preservation (MAP) on Thursday March 23 from 5:30-7:00 at the Cedar House Sports Hotel for our first Project Mixer of the year. MAP will be updating the community on the Martis Valley West litigation and how to get involved in our grass-roots efforts fighting the housing proposal for 760 homes adjacent to Brockway Summit. Cash bar & light appetizers. For more information call our office at 530.582.6751 or email info@mapf.org.

July 7, 2016

PLACER PLANNING COMMISSION VOTES TO DENY MARTIS VALLEY WESTimage005

Kings Beach, Calif. – In a stunning victory for Tahoe conservationists today, the Placer County Planning Commission voted to deny approval of the Martis West development project, proposed for the mountain ridges above North Lake Tahoe.

“Today’s vote is great news for everyone who loves Tahoe” said Tom Mooers of Sierra Watch. “It’s not necessarily the end of the road for the project, but it’s a clear indication that it has no place in North Lake Tahoe.”

The Commission’s 5-2 vote to deny the project is technically a recommendation made to the Placer County Board of Supervisors, who maintain final decision-making authority.
But it’s not a recommendation that was made – nor will likely be taken – lightly. The Commission held two day-long hearings, took hours of public testimony, and researched thousands of pages of planning documents before reaching their decision.

The project is part of a two-step proposal for the ridge dividing the Tahoe Basin and North Lake Tahoe at Brockway Summit.

The Martis Valley West project, at issue at today’s hearing, proposes a gated development of 760 new dwelling units on the Martis Valley side of the ridge.

The Brockway Campground resort development, a subsequent proposal, would include 550 sites and commercial facilities on the Tahoe Basin side of the ridge.

image004Today’s meeting was a continuation of the initial Planning Commission hearing on the Martis West proposal. At that hearing, held in North Tahoe on June 9, the Commission took hours of public testimony – nearly all in opposition to the project.

But they wanted to find out more, so they asked to suspend the hearing and meet again, with a focus on how the proposed development would impact three specific issues: (1) Traffic and Highway 267; (2) Fire Safety & Emergency     Evacuation; and (3) Lake Tahoe.

With the onset of the 2016 fire season, safety was a hot topic. Representatives of local agencies and first responders discussed their concerns about emergency evacuation.

Captain Ryan Stonebraker came from the Truckee-based office of the California Highway Patrol. He pointed out that they have a bicycle patrol in North Tahoe because the traffic is already so bad. As he told the Commission, “A bicycle is the only thing that can get around in Kings Beach.”

Beth Kenna spoke on behalf of the North Tahoe Fire Protection District and told the Commission that the district and its Chief “share our constituents’ concerns in regards to the added fire and evacuation challenges”.

“We are not confident that our concerns have been adequately addressed by the applicant through the County,” said Kenna.

Hundreds of Tahoe residents attended the hearing, many holding up signs that read, “DENY Martis Valley West.” A stream of locals stepped to the podium to address the Commission.

Once again, public input was overwhelming. Every speaker expressed opposition and urged the Commission to deny the project.

No one but the developers and their consultants spoke in favor of the project.

Local conservation groups were united in their opposition.

Alexis Ollar of Truckee-based Mountain Area Preservation pointed to the project’s impact on traffic. Proposed development would add to roads and highways already at gridlock.
Ollar urged the Commission, “Please send the applicants back to the drawing board.”

The League to Save Lake Tahoe pointed out that the project would jeopardize its ongoing work to “Keep Tahoe Blue”.

The project would pump new traffic and cars into the Tahoe Basin. That traffic leads to an increase in Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT), which, in turn, leads to further loss in the lake’s famous clarity – arguable the region’s most fundamental asset.

“A vote to approve this project is a vote against the lake,” Shannon Eckmeyer of the League to Save Lake Tahoe told the Commission.

And, in the end, the Planning Commission agreed.

After some discussion amongst themselves, they were ready to take a vote, quickly passing resolutions to recommend to deny certification of the project’s Environmental Impact Report and to deny the project itself.

image006The Commission’s recommendation will be forwarded to the County Board of Supervisors, who may hold a public hearing on the proposal later this summer.

Mountain Area Preservation (MAP) is the proud recipient of a $25,000 grant from the Truckee River Fund in support of the Trout Creek Pocket Park, located at Bridge and Jibboom Streets in Historic Downtown Truckee. This grant is tied to the extensive water quality improvements proposed at the site, including permeable pavers and a drainage system designed to treat run-off before it enters Trout Creek, a tributary of the Truckee River.

The Truckee River Fund was established in 2004 by the Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA). Truckee River Fund grants are primarily used for projects that protect and enhance water quality or water resources of the Truckee River, or its watershed.

The Trout Creek Pocket Park and Restoration Initiative has been part of the Truckee Downtown Specific Plan’s vision since 1997. This project will revitalize and restore an urban natural resource and neglected landscape by creating a green open space and park setting for visitors and locals to enjoy along the creek’s edge. MAP plans to break ground on May 2nd with an expected completion of the project this summer. This Community Benefit Project will be a catalyst for future restoration initiatives and the development of green, gathering spaces in Truckee.

MAP is still in need of donations to support this effort. Please contact Nikki Riley at 530-582-6751 or Nikki@mapf.org to contribute to the Friends of Trout Creek and learn more about this project.

Truckee-Tahoe Lumber Co. Donates to Trout Creek Pocket Park

Truckee Tahoe Lumber Company (TTL) has given Mountain Area Preservation (MAP) a $4,000 donation in support of the Trout Creek Pocket Park, located at Bridge and Jibboom Streets in Historic Downtown Truckee. This donation will cover the cost of the structural footings for the Art Bike Rack and the Rotating Public Art. 
“Truckee-Tahoe Lumber is passionate about contributing to and doing what’s best for the Town of Truckee and this includes supporting the beautification of the downtown area,” Andrew Cross, President of Truckee-Tahoe Lumber Company.

The Trout Creek Pocket Park and Restoration Initiative has been part of the Truckee Downtown Specific Plan’s vision since 1997. This project will revitalize and restore an urban natural resource and neglected landscape by creating a green open space and park setting for visitors and locals to enjoy along the creek’s edge.

MAP plans to break ground this spring and believes that the Trout Creek Pocket Park will be the catalyst for more green spaces throughout downtown Truckee. We are still in need of donations to support this effort. Please contact Nikki Riley at 530-582-6751 or Nikki@mapf.org to contribute to the Friends of Trout Creek and learn more about this project.

 

Mountain Area Preservation is excited to announce a $15,000 donation to the Trout Creek Pocket Park on behalf of the Truckee Donner Public Utility District (TDPUD). This donation will support a solar light fixture and native landscaping for the park site. The TDPUD is partnering with MAP to help support the infrastructure costs associated with the creation of the Pocket Park, located at Bridge and Jibboom Streets in Historic Downtown Truckee.

The Trout Creek Pocket Park and Restoration Initiative has been part of the Truckee Downtown Specific Plan’s vision since 1997. This project will revitalize and restore an urban natural resource and neglected landscape by creating a green open space and park setting for visitors and locals to enjoy along the creek’s edge.

MAP plans to break ground this spring and believes that the Trout Creek Pocket Park will be the catalyst for more green spaces throughout downtown Truckee. We are still in need of donations to support this effort. Please contact Nikki Riley at 530-582-6751 or Nikki@mapf.org to contribute to the Friends of Trout Creek and learn more about this project.

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The Tahoe Basin will no longer be included in the Martis Valley West Project, which originally called for 112 residential units on land inside the Basin. The developer asked Placer County Tuesday to exclude 138 acres of Tahoe Basin land, while maintaining the transfer of development rights in Martis Valley, after environmental groups urged them to not develop within the Basin.

“A part of the Martis Valley West Parcel Project initially contemplated having a Tahoe Basin residential development component. Certain parties have made it clear that conservation in the Martis Valley is not their priority,” wrote Project Manager Kurt Krieg to Placer County. “The Tahoe Basin-centric focus ultimately jeopardizes the successful completion of the conservation legacy, upon which stakeholders have been working collaboratively for a decade.”

The developer, Mountainside Partners (formerly East West Partners), also asked that the county suspend the application to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency for approval of any new development within an Area Plan in the Tahoe Basin, which means any future development on the Tahoe Basin land would have to be approved separate from the Martis Valley West Project. Mountain Area Preservation, Sierra Watch, the League to Save Lake Tahoe, and Placer County Supervisors Jennifer Montgomery and Jack Duran had been urging the developer to exclude the Basin from its proposal.

“Because the Basin land will be separated from the rest of the project, approvals will not require Tahoe Regional Planning Agency action,” Montgomery said in a statement. “Additionally, the applicant will work with the agency to more accurately define the boundary line for the Tahoe Basin. If necessary, a boundary line adjustment will be done to ensure the project is a separate legal parcel from any land within the Tahoe Basin.”

Blake Riva, a senior partner with Mountainside Partners, said it became clear that the entire project could be jeopardized if the Basin portion was included in the project. Montgomery told Moonshine Ink that she would have had “a hard time” voting in favor of the project if development inside the Basin was included. She said she, Duran, and the groups worked with the developer to avoid future litigation on the project.

“We are now preserving the original vision of the Martis Valley Opportunity Agreement,” Riva said.

The Original Plan

The Martis Valley Opportunity Agreement was formed in 2013 by Mountainside Partners, Sierra Pacific Industries, Sierra Watch, and MAP to preserve 6,376 acres of land in Martis Valley — which would connect more than 50,000 acres of contiguous open space between Martis Valley and Mount Rose Wilderness. The Martis Valley West Project proposes to shift a portion of the allowed development from the east parcel to the west parcel, where development is currently not allowed. Up to 760 residential units and 6.6 acres of commercial use would be built on the west parcel, now all on the Martis Valley side. The remaining allowable development of 600 residential units would be retired. The entire east parcel, as well as 352 acres on the west parcel, would become permanent open space.

Alexis Ollar, executive director of MAP, said she is pleased that the original vision of the project has been agreed upon.

“We’ve been urging them to drop that portion of the project,” Ollar said of the Basin component. “It wasn’t part of our original agreement … We never anticipated any TRPA rulings on this. Some good organizing took place and we can move forward. We hope it is a development everyone can agree with.”

Several Tahoe Basin groups, including the League to Save Lake Tahoe, the Sierra Club, and the North Tahoe Preservation Alliance held several public meetings this fall urging the developer to exclude the Tahoe Basin land from the project. Sierra Watch Executive Director Tom Mooers said he was happy that Mountainside Partners withdrew its Basin proposal.

“This is good news for Tahoe and good news for Martis Valley,” Mooers said. “This really was a case of the wrong place at the wrong time. Now we can get back to what we’ve been working on.”

Krieg said Placer County will submit a notice of preparation sometime in February, and a draft environmental impact report will be released this spring. Addendums will be included on all the studies to exclude the Basin portion.

“We are scaling the project back,” Krieg said. “We are merely moving the boundary line.”

Future Basin Development?

Although many are praising the change, some groups are still concerned that development could happen on the Basin land in the future. Riva said a separate project will be submitted to TRPA for a campground that will include tent sites, campers, and eco shelters. The 112-acre parcel is currently zoned to allow 835 campsites.

“We remain concerned that the issue is not dead and the development proposal will arise again in another form,” wrote Darcie Goodman Collins, executive director of the League to Save Lake Tahoe, in a statement to Moonshine Ink. “We’re seeking more information from the developers to see what other proposals may come forward for developing the land. We are skeptical of ideas floated so far and will continue to keep a close watch on the situation.”

Ann Nichols, president of the North Tahoe Preservation Alliance, said she also has concerns about a future campground on the site.

“We just have to sit back and see what they are going to do,” Nichols said. “There’s nothing formal and now an unknown campground in addition to the project.”

Riva said more information will be provided on the project in the near future but that it could include a “turnkey” experience for families with all amenities included.

No matter what the future holds, conservation groups and Montgomery are celebrating the victory of taking 112 units outside the Basin.

“I’m very encouraged about how well everyone worked together,” Montgomery said. “It is just a better project in a place that makes more sense.